The Royal Navy’s Welsh flagship, HMS Dragon reached a major milestone in her 12 month refit on January 11th, emerging from dry dock in Portsmouth Naval Base.
Currently seven months into an extensive maintenance period, the ‘flood-up’ evolution saw water surge through the dock gates and the Type 45 Destroyer float on the water for the first time since entering dry dock in October last year.
Dragon entered service with the Royal Navy in 2012 and has already completed two demanding deployments to the Middle East and South Atlantic.
The refit, which started in July last year, is Dragon’s first major maintenance period since the ship was launched in 2008, and has included substantial maintenance to the state of the art electric propulsion system, as well as upgrades across weapons, sensors and communications systems.
Key to the refit is the 14 week long docking period which has enabled essential maintenance to be completed to the hull and underwater fittings; this was Dragon’s first since build despite having racked up over 140000nm at sea!
The ship also received a fresh coat of paint – timely preparation for the return of her infamous 12 feet tall decorative Welsh dragons on the bow at the end of the month.
BAE Systems Project manager Jon Bartholomew oversees the enormous task of delivering Dragon’s upkeep package. He said: “HMS Dragon’s return to the water marks a major milestone in her upkeep package and the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by all involved over the festive period.
“This un-docking is the latest in a series of successful projects BAE Systems’ Fleet Time Engineering group, our T45 project team partners and the Royal Navy have delivered together as part of the HMNB Portsmouth maritime enterprise and we look forward in earnest to delivering Dragon back to the Fleet later this year.”
HMS Dragon’s Senior Naval Officer, Cdr Joe Allfree said: “Now Dragon is back in the water the ship’s company are eagerly looking forward to moving back on-board and getting to grips with the extensive harbour and sea trials programme that follows.
“In addition to overhauling and upgrading the various propulsion and weapon systems, we have made significant improvements to communal spaces and living quarters, which will make a real difference to Dragon’s sailor once we return to sea. ”
HMS Dragon is due to return to the Fleet in June, upon which she will embark on a period of sea trials followed by an extensive training package to prepare her for future operations.